An 18-year-old man opened fire at an elementary school in Texas, killing at least 19 schoolchildren. It is one of the deadliest school massacres in US history. According to investigators, the shooter entered the primary school in the small town of Uvalde on Tuesday afternoon and shot himself. At least two adults were also killed in the incident.
According to initial findings, the shooter was killed by security forces. It was unclear if he was counted among the adult fatalities. US President Joe Biden addressed the nation after the massacre and called for stricter gun laws.
The Uvalde police initially gave no information on the death toll. Erick Estrada from the Texas Department of Public Safety spoke to CNN about the numbers. He also described the events leading up to the massacre. The suspect initially shot his grandmother, Estrada said. The incident happened in the grandmother’s apartment – she was taken to a hospital. Nothing was initially known about her condition.
Finally, the shooter drove to school in a car and caused an accident there, Estrada said. He then got out of the car and entered the school wearing a protective vest, a backpack and a gun. There he opened fire. The 18-year-old was then asked by the school’s security staff. However, Estrada emphasized that the investigation was still ongoing and that this information was still preliminary.
Shooting sprees, including in schools, occur with sad regularity in the United States. A massacre at an elementary school ten years ago was particularly shocking: In December 2012, a 20-year-old with severe mental health problems in Newtown, Connecticut, first shot his mother. He then went to his elementary school, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and killed 20 school children and six teachers there. He then killed himself. At the time, the act caused a shock across the country and also caused horror beyond the borders of the USA.
Just over a week ago, a gunman with an assault rifle opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing ten people and injuring three others. He was arrested at the scene of the crime. According to investigators, the act was racially motivated – 11 of the 13 victims were black.
Last year, the FBI counted 61 gun shootings in the United States. The FBI announced on Monday in Washington that this was more than 50 percent more than in the previous year. The number has doubled since 2017. In 2021, 103 people were killed and 140 injured in rampages. 60 of the 61 shooters were said to be men. The FBI uses a strict definition for the count: it only includes cases in which a perpetrator shoots at people in public in order to kill them. Classic criminal cases involving armed violence or shootings among gang members are ignored.